This question has been in my mind for a while. I think it was as I was listening to Stephen Colbert and his Report that I heard him mention that “no hell” would be a good draw for people searching for religion; but I cannot remember for sure. I cannot recall exactly when the thought occurred to me because, for a while, I assumed that the notions of a Christian afterlife would be the same as the Jewish (aka Hebrew) afterlife.
In any case, the question came to mind and I did some research and the answer was: “No…sort of.”
The afterlife that Hebrews believe in is called Olam Haba and there are two different areas of this afterlife. There is Gan Eden which literally means the Garden of Eden. It is the Paradise or Heaven of the afterlife in the Hebrew religion. The second is called Gehenom which is close to, but is not the same as, the idea of hell. Hell is an eternal place of punishment, while Gehenom is a temporary place for painful atonement.
It is described as a place where your whole life story is shown to you and it is also shown to you how you could have done better in life (mostly toward your relationship with God -random fact: the name of God is so sacred that Hebrew do not speak and even when they use the title of God, they spell it G~d). At the end process the soul has been cleansed and may now ready to enter Gan Eden.
Although Olam Haba has also been described as an arena theatre where the best seats go to the most faithful so they may bask in God’s glory while the less faithful the worst the seats and the worst the show. Some who attend will simply not like the show and find it quite painful and irritating.
The most interesting thing about it though is the way the soul is presented. Some souls which go through Gehenom are purified to the point that they simply disappear. The soul has been described as being part of God; that when he breatherd life into man he breathed pat of himself.
Warning: Opinion About to Expressed
To me that idea makes since. After your soul is purified you return to God. If you were so wicked in life that you simply disappear then perhaps you had no soul to begin with or you reject your soul in your path of life.
So in the Hebrew belief system it appears that there is no Hell, only Gehenom and as long as you are not to wicked (I am looking at you Hitler) then your sins may be atoned for.